Nowadays it seems that wherever there is a disaster, so-called â€˜Scientology Volunteer Ministersâ€™ show up.
Sometimes they pass out food and supplies, but more often than not their real purpose is to â€˜assistâ€™ people with the quackery â€˜techniquesâ€™ thought up by L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard was the huckster who parlayed his interest in science-fiction into the religious fantasy business known as the Church of Scientology.
They visit disaster zones and help out with distributing food, door knocking and assisting with trauma.
But Cultwatch says these techniques specific to scientology could be a method of recruiting.
â€œI think it comes down to motivation, do they really care about people or is the motivation to try and get into their good books and then try and recruit them,â€ says Cultwatchâ€˜s Mark Vrankovich.
And mental health officials say people should be careful.
In a statement, Pegasus Mental Health says all aid workers, and especially health workers, should be able to provide very basic psychological first aid. They say theyâ€™re cautious helpers who are not familiar with these guidelines could potentially do more harm than good inadvertently.
Indeed, as we wrote before, in July 2006 BBC radio 5 did a report on the involvement of Scientologyâ€™s â€œVolunteer Ministersâ€ in the rescue work after the July, 2005, London bombings.
In the program, Five Live Report, reporter Elodie Harper goes undercover to reveal the tactics used by Scientology followers in the immediate aftermath of traumatic events.
At one point Harper explains:
What you just heard there was Paul Fletcher telling us that he and other Scientologists were keeping the psychs away when they went to help trauma victims amongst all the chaos of the day. And Stefania jokingly refers to it as a type of spiritual security needed to save people from the threat of receiving psychological counseling.
Why â€˜human rightsâ€™ or â€˜disaster reliefâ€™? Well, the Church of Scientology appears to latch onto anything that can get it some publicity â€” other than the plethora of articles in the press pointing out whatâ€™s wrong with the cult). By riding the tailcoat of good causes it apparently hopes people will have a more positive view of Scientology.
Anonymous has produced an instructive video exposing Scientologyâ€™s Volunteer Ministers program:
FACTNet news editors note: Stay tuned and just watch the COS "volunteer ministers" show up on the shores of Japan...
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